I made it to the weekend. Nobody was killed, injured or maimed in the process of getting here. I gather that’s a good thing. ; )~
Teaching classes has been quite fulfilling for me. Not only am I enjoying lecturing on the materials – but I’m also having fun finding new ways to bring the subject matter to life for my students. One of my recent “parlor tricks” was to demonstrate the use of security tokens passed between an individual’s machine and a host server during a business transaction (think Amazon.com when you buy a book there). I have a super-ball that flashes a red light from some internal circuitry built into it. When the ball is bounced, a circuit is closed, and the light flashes red for approximately a minute. Using the ball as a security token, I bounce it to show that the transaction is underway. As a security token expires over a period of time, when the flashing red light stops, I use this as an example of the completed transaction and the expiration of the token. Then, I decided to utilize this as a rudimentary example of a “man-in-the-middle” attack. I picked two students, and had them bounce the ball slowly between the two of them. At a particular point, I stepped between them and intercepted the ball. I then looked the ball over for a moment and then bounced the ball to the original intended recipient. While the example is extremely crude and doesn’t take into account several other, more complicated aspects — it served to illustrate the example much more clearly for the students.
Life is the same way. Back in the 1980s and early 1990s, I felt that one *had* to be a part of a local group of folks in order to “get it” when it came to religious beliefs. That without those other folks, that circuit would never complete in the wiring of the brain — and I would be “missing” something. Now, nearly twenty-(mumble-mumble) years later – I can see that I didn’t really need all of that. My understanding of my own religious beliefs works just fine by the examples provided for me through the seasons of the year, the daily comings- and goings- of the sun/moon, and the connected feeling I get when I am taking a walk in a wooded area. My religion is a lot more free-form than that of a lot of folks. I don’t need the trappings of ritual or the rigid concepts of dogma to rule what I know about the G-ds and G-ddesses and the manner in which they manifest in my life. I only need to step outside and experience the world just beyond my front door to understand that. I don’t need to create ritual space when I want to celebrate the turn of the Wheel. The outdoors already *is* sacred space – no need to invoke a consecrated circle for that. All I need to do is get out and walk – experience the moment on the Wheel of the Year as it is presented to me. Granted, that means that sometimes I will have an interloper for my thoughts drive by in his F250 truck, windows rolled down, and radio cranked so loud I can *feel* the vibration of the bass in his “music”. But it only lasts for a short period of time – and then I can get back to my own thoughts.
I’ve learned a lot about myself through the lessons in the Bardic grade with the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. Frankly, I feel that the lessons have opened doorways in my mind that I would never have had the stones to open prior to that. Now that I am nearing the end of my lessons, I find myself starting to prepare for the end of this particular journey. Most likely, I will take a short bit of time to rest and contemplate where I’ve come from – prior to seeking the initiatory steps as a Bard in the order. A period of reflection and rest is always a good thing. Plus, it provides me with the opportunity to sit and listen to the sounds of the world all around me — and enjoy the feeling of the Spring-time grass underneath my feet.